Like last year, 2021 provided a large variety of graphic novels to read. Below are 10 of my favorite graphic novels for 2021.
Note while these are favorite graphic novels I read in 2021, they weren’t necessarily published this year. Also, while I normally write this year-end post in December, this year I thought it might be better to get a jump start. As of this writing, supply chain issues, labor shortages, the pandemic, and the state of the US Postal Service are causing shipping problems, in case anyone’s using this list for holiday gift ideas.
(Disclosure: The blog is an affiliate of Bookshop.org, and will earn a commission for purchases made through Bookshop links.)
Goldie Vance: Larceny in La La Land
Written by Hope Larson; art by Mollie Rose
This Goldie Vance graphic novel sees our teenage detective hero and her friends visit Hollywood for the summer. There, Goldie gets involved in a Tinseltown related mystery.
Love and Capes: The Family Way
Written by Thomas Zahler; art by Thomas Zahler
This installment of Zahler’s “Love and Capes” series sees Mark and Abby deal with being the parents of two children. Since Mark’s a superhero, the usual parenting concerns get even more complicated.
Lumberjanes, vol. 20
Written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh; art by Brooklyn Allen, Alexa Bosy, and Kanesha C. Bryant
This is the final trade paperback volume of the recently-ended “Lumberjanes” series. The girls deal with summer camp coming to an end, plus have one big final adventure.
Quill Tree Books
Written by Jerry Craft; art by Jerry Craft
Jerry Craft’s “New Kid” sees its protagonist, Jordan Banks, deal with life as a student at a new upscale, mostly-White middle school. Said school and its students are vastly different from Jordan’s own background, culture, and economic status.
Nubia: Real One
Written by L.L. McKinney; art by Robyn Smith
Wonder Woman’s Amazon sister Nubia is the star of this graphic novel. Here, Nubia is a teenage girl raised by two Moms. She hangs out with her friends and has a crush on a classmate, all while trying to keep her superhuman abilities a secret. Nubia also faces how American society treats Black people; the Black Lives Matter movement also plays a part in the story.
Written by Kyle Starks; art by Kyle Starks
“Old Head” is a comedy/horror story set in the early 1990s. A washed-up pro basketball player and his teenage daughter move into his mother’s old house. However, he’s unaware of his mother’s secret life, or the dangerous vampires and other creatures lurking nearby.
Written by Jennifer Muro and Thomas Krajewski; art by Gretel Lusky
“Primer” is a rare DC Comics graphic novel featuring a completely original character.
Ashley is a 13-year-old girl who’s moved into a foster home. There, she discovers her foster parents are involved with experimental paints that allow Ashley to access temporary superpowers.
A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
Written by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson; art by Archie Bongiovanni
As the book’s title indicates, “They/Them Pronouns” is a guide created to easily explain gender neutral pronoun usage. There’s also tips offered for those who do identify as nonbinary.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys
Written by Ian Flynn; art by Jack Lawrence
The IDW “Sonic” series has been popular enough to get its own spin-off miniseries, starring the series’ original characters. In this case, “Bad Guys” is a trade paperback of a four-issue miniseries starring Dr. Starline, an evil scientist who idolizes Dr. Eggman. Starline teams up with several other Sonic villains in a scheme involving invading one of Eggman’s abandoned bases.
Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven
Written by Kami Garcia; art by Gabriel Picolo
“Beast Boy Loves Raven” is a follow-up to DC’s previous stand-alone graphic novels starring Beast Boy and Raven. Here, the two teenage heroes meet each other in Nashville while looking for the person that invited them there: Slade Wilson (aka longtime Teen Titans villain Deathstroke).